A straightforward visit to the dentist can be traumatic enough, but anxiety levels can go through the roof when you’re faced with big decisions about ‘essential’ dental work.

While you lay tilted back in the dentist’s chair with your mouth stretched wide open and your dentist starts ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ you get a sense the news isn’t going to be good.

a dentist
A dentist; image source: healthiack.com

Going to the dentist is a strange thing. We give ourselves over completely to their expertise and we don’t question their decisions. We accept point blank the advice we are given by the dentist and mostly we do as we are told. It’s curious, don’t you think?

With anything else we Google, ask friends and seek second opinions, get more quotes and mull over the options. If your washing machine goes on the blink, your boiler breaks down or your car stops working you call in an expert. If you don’t like what you hear, you get a second opinion or another quote. It’s what we do. So why not with the dentist?

6 reasons for getting a second opinion

Here are 6 reasons why you may want to seek a dentist second opinion.

1. You don’t understand what’s wrong

If you don’t really understand what your dentist is explaining to you (and it is ok to ask for an explanation in plain English!), then now might be a good time to let your dentist know you’ll think about his or her recommendations before going ahead with any treatment. Getting a second opinion so you understand what the problem is and what options are available is important before you make a decision about dental work.

2. You feel pressured

Never feel you have to make a decision under pressure (unless you are in agony, in which case you may have to trust your dentist will do the right thing to get you out of pain).

3. You are petrified

If you are petrified every time you visit the dentist, then it might be time to seek a dentist who deals with nervous patients. There are many dentists who are particularly good at building up relationships with nervous patients. It’s important you feel as comfortable as possible.

4. You have an uneasy gut feeling

If you are uncomfortable with your dental diagnosis, listen to your gut feeling. Getting a second opinion will put your mind at rest. This is especially important if your diagnosis involves tooth extractions, extensive dental work and expensive fees. Even if you are sure some work needs to be done, the type of treatment you are offered may differ from dentist to dentist. Trust your gut feeling and get a second opinion.

5. Your dental surgery has a highly cosmetic approach

Having the perfect smile is something that’s sold to us more and more these days. And if that is what you want, that’s fine. But, if your dentist is over zealous about creating that vision for every patient, you may be exposed to the idea more than is necessary. If you feel the perfect smile is being upsold to you by your dentist when you are satisfied with healthy teeth, it may be time to consider a second opinion.

6. Different treatment philosophies

Some dentists like to treat problems aggressively as they arise in order to nip them in the bud. Others take a more wait-and-see approach. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ philosophy. Each will be doing what they think is best for the long-term health of your teeth. However, you need to feel comfortable with the approach your dentist prefers.

Having a discussion with your dentist about what other options there are and why he chooses his particular recommendation may help you to make a decision. If you’re unhappy with the approach, seeking a second opinion could be a good idea.

3 Tips for finding a new dentist

Finding a new dentist can feel daunting. How do you find one? Here are 3 tips for finding a dentist you can trust:

1. Ask friends and family for recommendations

There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation for anything from a dentist to a plumber. There’s no guarantee you’ll have the same rapport, but it’s a great starting point.

2. Check websites and visit the surgery

Websites won’t tell you everything, and some are a bit ‘salesy’, but you can generally get a feel for what the practice is like, who works there and what types of treatments they offer. Their unique selling point should be obvious.

Nothing on the website can tell you how good they are, but testimonials are worth checking out. Also, search for reviews not linked to the website. They can be more ‘telling.’ No dentist is going to post up poor reviews on their own site.

You’ll likely be visiting a dentist in your local area, so don’t be afraid to walk in off the street and check a surgery out. You’ll be able to get a feel for the place, and you’re under no obligation to make an appointment. Get some information and take it away to think about it.

3. heck out listings

You can find a full list of NHS dentists on the NHS website. The British Dental Association and the General Dental Council’s websites are also useful for locating a dentist in your area, and will have most of the private and NHS dentists listed.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting a second opinion about your teeth. You do after all have only one set!

About author:
This article was contributed to healthiack.com by a guest author.

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